Electronic Filing May Improve Financial Disclosure Program

Several agencies have developed, or are using, electronic filing systems for both the OGE Form 450 and the OGE Form 278. Agencies using electronic filing systems report increased completion rates, decreased review time, and reduction in erroneous reporting. Electronic filing systems contain features that benefit an agency’s specific ethics program. Some examples of those features are:

• Pre-population of new reports with information from previous reports
• Incomplete or inaccurate data is “flagged”
• Filers can electronically sign the reports and reviewers can review and sign online
• Filer submission and reviewer approval trigger e-mail notifications to ethics officials for their action
• Filers have access to instructions and examples to help them complete the form
• Time-stamps occur automatically
• Attachments can be uploaded to a filer's form
• Cautionary letters can be sent and are recorded immediately in the system
• Filers can complete their forms at work or at home on a secure, web-based electronic system
• Mass e-mails and reminders can be sent and tracked from within the system

Agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce (NTIS), Department of Justice (EOUSA), Department of the Army, Farm Credit Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission have established e-filing systems. Some agencies make their e-filing system available to other agencies, with or without a fee.

Agencies interested in implementing an electronic filing system should refer to DO-07-014 and contact OGE for assistance, if necessary. OGE may have contact information of additional agency ethics officials who have implemented electronic filing systems which are available to other agencies.